It’s been a big week for Emmy-winning film and TV star Tom Skerritt, who celebrated his 80th birthday on August 25 and began rehearsals for his first Broadway play, Rupert Holmes' adaptation of John Grisham’s bestselling novel A Time to Kill. The newly minted octogenarian just moved to New York City for the first time, and he admitted to the New York Post that the transition with his wife, five-year-old daughter and 100-pound Swiss mountain dog “will be difficult.”
“I’m terrified,” revealed Skerritt, who plays Jake Brigance’s oft-inebriated mentor Lucien Wilbanks in the new courtroom drama. “Rehearsals start now. And memorization? My heritage is Irish. I’m the type who’ll just go at it. Grab it by the throat and deal with it. Having never seen the movie [adaptation of A Time to Kill], I’ll fortunately come at this with a fresh view.”
Skerritt is used to challenges—in 2012, he appeared in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s dancing adaptation of Don Quixote in Seattle, WA, even though he doesn’t dance. “I recall that surge of energy,” the actor says of performing in the ballet. “But Broadway?! Holy sh*t.” A two-time Emmy winner for Picket Fences, Skerritt has been a working actor for more than 50 years, including an extended stint in Brothers & Sisters.
In addition to Skerritt, A Time to Kill stars Sebastian Arcelus, John Douglas Thompson, Fred Dalton Thompson, Tonya Pinkins, Patrick Page, Chike Johnson and Ashley Williams. Performances begin September 28 at Broadway’s Golden Theatre.